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20 Sep 2010

NAACP backs pardon for 2 serving life for $11 robbery

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September 20, 2010 Category: Stateside Posted by:

associated press


ABOVE PHOTO: Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, left, and Jackson attorney Chokwe Lumumba, second from right, present Capitol Police Maj. Johnnie Stewart, a box filled with copies of petitions and letters of support for Jamie and Gladys Scott, sisters who have been jailed by the state for 15 years for armed robbery, in the lobby of the Walter Sillers State Building in downtown Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Sept. 14. Jealous and Lumumba are seeking the sisters’ release and brought the materials to the building which houses the governor’s offices hoping they will be given to him.

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)


JACKSON, Miss. — The head of the NAACP urged Mississippi’s governor on Tuesday to pardon two black women who are serving life in prison for their role in an $11 armed robbery.


Jamie and Gladys Scott lured two men down a road in 1993 in central Mississippi, where they were robbed by three teenagers who struck both men in the head with a shotgun and took their wallets, according to court documents. The Scotts were convicted of robbery with the use of a deadly weapon and have been in prison ever since.


“We’re looking for the governor to be a humane person in the situation. It is a hideous event in the history of Mississippi,” said Ben Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.


A spokesman for Gov. Haley Barbour said a meeting was scheduled Wednesday between attorneys for the Scotts and the governor’s office. However, a decision about a pardon would come after the parole board considers the request and makes a recommendation, spokesman Dan Turner said.


Momentum for the pardon has been building through blogs and because of reports that Jamie Scott, 38, is gravely ill with kidney failure, though a prisons spokeswoman described her condition as “medically stable.”


Supporters have written letters to the parole board and planned to march and rally Wednesday at the state Capitol.


The three teenagers who were charged in the case made plea deals and served several months behind bars, said Choke Lumumba, an attorney for the Scott sisters.


Mark Duncan, who was an assistant district attorney in Scott County when the Scott sisters were tried, doesn’t understand the NAACP’s interest.


“My position on this is they were tried and found guilty and sentenced by a jury. I don’t know what else there is to say about it,” Duncan said.


At the time of the crime, Jamie Scott was 20 and Gladys Scott was 19, and they were both mothers, Lumumba said.


“Regardless of what happens, there’s no way that the crime fits the time. Nobody was hurt and only a meager amount of money was taken,” Lumumba said.


Lumumba noted that Barbour, a Republican, has pardoned convicted murderers in the past.


“It won’t make sense if he doesn’t pardon Jamie and Gladys,” Lumumba said.


The Mississippi Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal in 1997. The first pardon request was made to then-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, a Democrat, shortly after the sisters were sentenced, Lumumba said.

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